Bob Murray To Court: The ACLU Is Too Biased To File Its 'Eat Shit, Bob' Brief

from the eat-shit-bob dept

As you likely recall, last week the ACLU of West Virginia asked the federal court handling the very upset coal boss Bob Murray's defamation lawsuit against comedian John Oliver to allow it to file a hilarious amicus brief explaining (among other things) why it was perfectly legal to say "Eat shit, Bob." As we noted at the time, it is a very funny filing, but we weren't sure the court would allow it for a whole variety of reasons. And thus it's no surprise that Murray's lawyers are opposing the motion -- but we didn't expect that their opposition would be quite so ridiculous. There are lots of normal arguments they could make, including no need for an amicus brief at this point, or pointing out that the amicus arguments are likely to be simply duplicative of HBO/John Oliver's arguments, but... Murray's lawyers went a bit further. Apparently, they don't want the ACLU weighing in, because it has an opinion.

More troubling, the ACLU fails to disclose its indisputable and disqualifying bias, notwithstanding that several district courts have noted that impartiality is a key factor to consider when evaluating whether to permit a non-party to serve as amicus curiae.

But, uh, most amicus briefs have a bias that supports one side or the other. They just add to the overall record, often providing different perspectives on the issues, or offering an alternative way of looking at the issues. Nothing says that amicus briefs need to be totally neutral.

It's no surprise that Murray's lawyers attack the "tone" of the ACLU's brief. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if the tone alone makes the judge reject it. But, even here, Murray's lawyers' reasoning is... weird. They argue that the tone shows that the ACLU of West Virginia can't be an amicus.

From the tone of its brief alone, it is obvious that the ACLU is not a "friend of the court" offering a dispassionate view of the issues.

And then they claim that the ACLU is only supporting John Oliver because he once, many months ago, urged people to donate to various organizations, some of which may have helped the ACLU:

Moreover, the ACLU's economic motivations for assisting Defendants and its prejudice against Plaintiffs are a matter of public record. As for its economic interests, in November of 2016, Defendant Oliver used "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" to encourage viewers to donate to numerous left-leaning organizations, which—not surprisingly—resulted in an immediate surge of millions of dollars in donations to the ACLU, among others. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B hereto. Another subsidiary of Defendant Time Warner furthered the effort to add to the ACLU's coffers by reporting on Oliver's call for donations the next day. See Exhibit C hereto. Consequently, the ACLU's statement in the Motion that "no party, party's counsel, or other person…contributed money intended to fund preparing or submitting the brief" lacks appropriate and complete disclosure.

Oh come on. The idea that the ACLU is weighing in because John Oliver and other Time Warner properties once encouraged donation is ludicrous.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the court will simply reject the amicus brief as being unnecessary and unwanted at this stage, but the arguments from Murray's lawyers continue to make me wonder where he found these guys.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 4:32am

    How's that saying go...?

    'When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.

    When the law is on your side, pound on the law.

    When neither are on your side, pound on the table.'

    As noted in the article there are several ways they could have gone in opposing the ACLU's submission, that they went with 'they aren't unbiased enough(read: not biased in our favor) for it to count, and oh yeah Oliver once encouraged people to donate to several organizations, the ACLU among them so their support is totally dodgy' leaves them looking pretty weak.

    Can't say I'm that surprised though as despite the rather entertaining slant the ACLU's submission had the facts presented were pretty damning as far as Murray's team were concerned, so I imagine they'd rather not actually address any of the points raised in an attempt to show how they were flawed, and instead went with a way that would allow them to brush it aside without addressing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 4:41am

    So now having expertise in some issue is "bias". Right...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 6:08am

    Too biased?

    John Oliver should move to dismiss the case on the grounds that Bob Murray is too biased to bring this lawsuit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 10 Aug 2017 @ 6:15am

    I kind of hope the judge allows the amicus brief to make a point about the laughable notion that they need to be unbiased.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 6:17am

    Real life Mr Burns

    Murray seems to be doing everything in his power to make himself into a real life version of Mr Burns. Hated by all, yet trying to obtain "justice" with money and power whenever he is called on his bullshit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 6:29am

    The appropriate response to this news is obvious, three words long, and already in the title.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 6:40am

    Eat shit, Bob.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 7:34am

    The ACLU isn't a "left leaning" organization unless of course you consider supporting the Constitution means that you are left leaning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 10 Aug 2017 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      When the storm is blowing right, ultimately the only options are leaning left or eating shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 9:39am

      Re:

      Reality has a liberal bias, or so I've heard.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 9:47am

        Re: Re:

        Reality may have a liberal bias, but not a leftist bias. Sadly in America, those things have pretty much become one in the same.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          orbitalinsertion (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          According to people who like to lump liberal, leftist, socialist, and Democrat into one category when it is convenient for them. With changing minute-by-minute definitions for any of the terms.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Unfortunately the "left" has claimed the "liberal" tag.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 3:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Actually, I think that the general population has a very disjointed perception of what the political spectrum looks like.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            BernardoVerda (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 11:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            According to people who like to lump liberal, leftist, socialist, and Democrat into one category when it is convenient for them. With changing minute-by-minute definitions for any of the terms.

            Ummm... I think you left out marxist*, fascist, nazi, and anarchist, (and maybe even scientific). Those "lumpers" don't worry about consistency, either.

            *) "Leninist" seems to be OK, though -- since Steve Bannon has publicly claimed to be "Leninist"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mhajicek (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 10:24am

      Re:

      Yep, all them lefty 2a supporters...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2017 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      They supported the constitution decades ago, but they've since left the bulk of it in the dust for political preferences. The ACLU of today is no friend to free speech. If the Skokie case happened again today the ACLU would find a reason to reject it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 7:36am

    Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if the tone alone makes the judge reject it.

    And this is why I will never understand the legal system. If I was a judge and the Illinois Nazis came to me with an amicus brief written in this tone, I would accept it on general principle, regardless of what terrible things it supported or how irrelevant or unnecessary it may be.

    Honestly, if I was at the Nuremberg trials and somebody came to me with an amicus brief with this tone, I would probably accept it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Craig, 10 Aug 2017 @ 8:19am

    I had always thought this lawsuit was about publicity rather than winning. Either he's doing the
    Gawker thing, trying to cost them a lot of money with no intention of settling. Or it's just a PR stunt to get publicity for himself. I'm not sure how this is going to get good publicity for him because he looks like a douchebag, acts like a douchebag and hires douchebag lawyers. I guess any publicity is good publicity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 2:18pm

      Re:

      Either he's doing the Gawker thing, trying to cost them a lot of money with no intention of settling.

      As the ACLU's filing made clear Murray has a long history of suing people who say mean things about him, so I'm pretty sure this explanation is the correct one. Thin skin, lots of money and a history of threatening people who he doesn't like to shut them up would explain this one nicely.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OA (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 8:26am

    Not so sure

    These days, too many, even judges (and so called judges), are generally kind of poor at evaluating information, arguments and such. For example, sometimes people judge statements based on how they would express the statement's intent, ignoring or deprioritizing its content. A sort of Empty Etiquette based judgment (though etiquette is often relevant). Worse, I've seen statement's attacked because of the lack of a bias or prejudice that the listener or reader prefers to be present and at least pretends to believe is objective.

    At a casual glance I would say the amicus brief is in an acceptable tone because the lawsuit is about comedic statements.

    ...the court will simply reject the amicus brief as being unnecessary and unwanted at this stage...

    Even if the court says this, the arguments by Murray's lawyers could have still influenced their thinking. The lawyers may be trying to bias the court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CHRoNo§§, 10 Aug 2017 @ 8:41am

    hbo can get fucked

    they are trolling about game a thrones after all...you cant have it both ways

    and if i were HBO i'd stop pretending hackers hacked your crap

    the so called leaks are HBO's contracts TRAPPERS

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 10:41am

      Re: hbo can get fucked

      We don't have to like how HBO handles anti-piracy to cheer for them and want them to win when it comes to free speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 9:35am

    lols

    filing an amicus brief on behalf of a party is always bias. bob murray ain't gonna have any luck in getting amicus briefs banned.

    lols

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Flakbait (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 10:57am

    Entertaining AF

    Somebody contact Orville Redenbacher. We're gonna need a LOT more popcorn.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 12:28pm

    so uhhhh.....

    according to the OTHER article, the ACLU can defend PETA, Milo Yiannopolis, the KKK, (And I *THINK* they defended WBC during their SCOTUS trial), But speaking out against Bob "Eat Shit" Murray is TOO biased?


    Exactly HOW much of a douchnozzle you you have to be to be in THAT situation?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 12:42pm

    Publicity Stunt

    The ACLU amicus brief was purely a publicity stunt to remind people about freedom of speech. Unlike PETA with the monkey selfie, nobody has been harmed, they got the publicity they wanted, we got a good laugh and Bob can still eat shit! Actually I give the ACLU full kudos for using this case for the publicity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 10 Aug 2017 @ 5:40pm

    but the arguments from Murray's lawyers continue to make me wonder where he found these guys.

    Maybe Murray reads the paperwork they file, and they have to include stuff like this in order to keep him happy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 7:07pm

    Yeah, few hours later, after it's been moved back to state court, you're all so wrong!

    Slam dunk fron here, home turf: coal miners against outsiders, period.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2017 @ 7:19pm

      Re: Yeah, few hours later, after it's been moved back to state court, you're all so wrong!

      "John Steele will appeal, and he will win!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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